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Hawaii Labor Relations Board dismisses HSTA complaint, board member recused

By Mary Vorsino

LAST UPDATED: 1:20 p.m. HST, Aug 18, 2011



The labor relations board ruled the state did not participate in unauthorized ex parte communications when it sent a letter to the board.

The Hawaii State Teachers Association had argued the governor, schools superintendent and Board of Education chairman were inappropriately trying to influence the board when they sent a letter to HLRB agreeing to mediation with certain terms.

The letter was also sent to HSTA, which is why the labor board ruled it was not unauthorized communication with the board.

HSTA has also filed a motion on the issue with the state Ethics Commission.

Meanwhile, labor relations board member Sesnita Moepono has recused herself from participating in a case involving the teachers union because her husband is in the union.

Moepono announced this morning, at proceedings in HSTA's case before the Hawaii Labor Relations Board that she believed she could be impartial. However, she decided to recuse herself after consulting with the state Ethics Commission.

Moepono's husband is a student services coordinator with the Department of Education.

Moepono's recusal brings the number of HLRB members presiding over HSTA's complaint against the state to two.

The HSTA is arguing the state violated members' rights when it imposed a contract with wage reductions and higher health insurance premiums for teachers on July 1.

In announcing her to decision to recuse herself, Moepono pointed out that neither the union nor the state have raised concerns about her husband's membership in HSTA.

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